The Sangguniang Kabataan
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - April 17, 2018 - 12:00am

Back in the day, my friend used to be very active in the Sangguniang Kabataan. He was just a councilman of our small barangay in the town of Consolacion but he did whatever he could to make sure the programs of the youth were in place. His weekends were full of meetings from morning until the night with his fellow councilmen just to develop the many things the youth wanted -sports, a waiting shed, and the like. By the time his term hit a good three years and his age did not admit him anymore to the SK, he left this life and moved on into developing his own as well.

We did not hear that much from the SK after that last term. Legislators wanted to scrap it, others wanted it retained. In other areas, sons and daughters of politicians were made candidates by their parents who were also dominating the political landscape of the barangay. Whoever said that the barangay should be non-partisan was very wrong. Finally after much debate and struggle at the House and the Senate, the SK election will go on as planned. It is better and bigger than the previous years with leaders who would be ideally mature enough to lead a good council. The age group was extended and many provisions were given.

Last Saturday, during the first day of the filing of certificate of candidacies, I met a 19-year old woman who was a third year college student. She said their village chief asked her to run for the SK since all the other active youths were related to him by blood. At first she was hesitant but then said yes to a whole new challenge. Now that nobody manifested to go against her, she thinks of it as a sure win.

I'm sure there are many others like her in the different parts of the country who were coerced to join the SK. There is no concrete answer if the youth will benefit from it. In a way, they will be trained to lead a council and make decisions for themselves. The budget will be in their hands and they will be creative enough to make programs for the youth today. It will be a big challenge to entice the youth of today who are so obsessed with social media to go out and make a difference. Their biggest enemy will be apathy. It will be a victory if the young children go out of their houses to help the community.

If you ask me if I have lost hope in the SK, I cannot give a sure answer as of now. It could be a yes or a no. The May elections will give me a definite answer and the surprise of it all is real. I only hope that the controversies of the SK last year will not be repeated again in this generation. I say good luck to all of them.

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